News

Protests could interrupt your lunch plans

Protests could interrupt your lunch plans

NOT SO FAST: A man eats in a Burger King restaurant while demonstrators gather outside in Boston, Massachusetts Aug. 29, 2013, part of a nation-wide fast food workers strike asking for $15 per hour wages and the right to form unions. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – Fast-food workers will stage another day of protests in more than 150 U.S. cities on Thursday as they seek a doubling in hourly pay to $15 and the right to form a union.

Organizers expect their biggest protest to date, with fast-food workers from McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC restaurants expected to walk off the job. They will be joined by home-care workers.

The union-backed actions, which started in New York and other major cities, have steadily gathered steam since 2012 and helped to spur a national debate about the federal minimum wage, which has been stuck at $7.25 since 2009.

Protesters, many of whom are adults clocking 40 hours or more per week at around that wage, say they cannot survive on such pay and are pressing for $15 per hour – above the roughly $11 hourly wage that experts say is the poverty threshold for a family of four.

McDonald’s Corp, Burger King Worldwide Inc and other major fast-food chains do not own most of their U.S. restaurants and leave pay decisions to their franchisees, who generally say that paying their employees more will be detrimental to their businesses.

The International Franchise Association (IFA) in a statement charged that the protests are a union smoke-screen.

Unions, led by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), are hiding “behind an altruistic plea for higher wages when what they really want is a shortcut to refill their steadily dwindling membership ranks and coffers,” IFA said.

The protesters and their supporters make a similar charge, saying that the big fast-food chains are using their restaurant ownership structure to shield themselves from the actions of their franchisees and to prevent workers from organizing.

They cheered in July, when the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board announced that McDonald’s, not just its franchisees, can be liable for alleged labor law violations.

If the five-member, Democrat-controlled NLRB board agrees with the general counsel, McDonald’s and other companies that depend on franchisees and contractors could be exposed to new legal risks.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Recent Headlines

in Viral Videos

WATCH: Justin Bieber’s boxing lessons

25-overlay3

The pop star is reportedly taking boxing lessons from Floyd Mayweather ... and Conan O'Brien has the footage.

in Music

Country rules Billboard chart again

floridageorgia

It's been a good week to be a country artist.

in Viral Videos

The most epic safety video ever made

23-overlay2

New Zealand knows why you want to visit, and they're playing along.

in Entertainment

‘Dukes of Hazard’ recording Christmas album

dukes

Good ol' boys John Schneider and Tom Wopat have teamed up to record a new holiday album.

in Entertainment

Hilary Swank, Miranda Lambert to front ‘Dog-a-Thon’

swank

LeAnn Rimes, Betty White, Scarlett Johansson, Josh Duhamel, and Kesha are among those set to appear on a "Dog-a-Thon."